Thursday, July 19, 2012

Afraid of the Dentist? Coping Strategies for the Dental Phobic

Though it’s a sad fact to admit, not many people really love going to the dentist.  And, some people are actually dental phobic -- so afraid of going to the dentist that they’re willing to endure a painful toothache rather than seek care.

A recent Swedish study revealed that about 5% of people actually have a debilitating, severe dental fear, which they defined as individuals who have serious oral pain, but wait 17 days or more to make an appointment to see their dentist.  (Comparatively, the rest of the population who is not as dental phobic waits only 3 days.)  

Interestingly, an Australian study showed that those most likely to be afraid of the dentist are women in their 40s.  This demographic group more than any other is more likely to have felt oro-facial trauma -- and are also more likely to be depressed, anxious or stressed.So whatever your age, if you happen to be a member of that 5% who really dislikes the dentist, how can you get over your dental phobia?   

In my next few blogs, I’ll explore some coping strategies for some of the most common dental concerns:  a strong gag reflex, mouth breathing (how a mouth breather can get through an entire appointment without holding his breath), a fear of instruments and loud noises, and being uncomfortable with lying back and not knowing what’s happening inside your mouth.

All of these dental phobias are easy to overcome.  With a few simple strategies, that 5% of people who are card-carrying dental phobics could turn into 5% who love going to the dentist!

Looking for a gentle dentist?  Wilmette Dental has been a North Shore Family Dental Tradition for more than 30 years.  Visit our website at


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